Berkeleouw’s Book Barn Treasure

As part of celebrating the anniversary of the very first time we went out to dinner (19 November 1994), we always pay a visit for a couple of hours to Berkeleouw’s Book Barn at Berrima.

Susan and I are bookworms and there is nothing better for bookworms than visiting a bookshop. Although the Book Barn has some new books, it predominantly has used books, which is part of what keeps us coming back.

This visit saw me purchase the following books:

I always seem to come away with at least one Poetry book, and in the last few years the Poetry books have outnumbered the Art-related books, but not this year.

The two Chinese Art-related books jumped out at me as next weekend, I am attending a workshop that is being run by Jo Wong Artist, who is also the new President of the Macarthur Art Group that will be joining shortly.

‘Poetry Now’ is actually a book of Poems where the authors were born within the first 30-40 years of the 20th Century and /Great Artists Explained’ was simply too good a book to leave on the shelf!

I look forward in the coming weeks to grab a cuppa and sit down and investigate all these books more.

Written by David Johnson

27 November 2022

Serene Green

Berkelouw’s book treasure

As mentioned in the previous post, last Sunday, my Wife and I were down at Berrima to celebrate the 27th anniversary of us going out to dinner for the first time.

One of the places we always go to is Berkelouw’s Book Barn which is located just outside Berrima on the Old Hume Highway. It holds a special place in our Hearts as we went there for the first time back on the 19 November 1994 and whilst browsing, Susan found a book called ‘The Drover’ which was outside the budget. She loved it but put it back on the shelf. I took a mental note of the book (no Smart phones back then to take a picture of it) and the next day, I rang Berkelouw’s and had them put the book aside. I picked it up the next weekend and gave it to Susan as a present. She was delighted and surprised! 🙂

Berkelouw’s used to have about 250,000 books but after diversification, they now have about 100,000 books. Still plenty to tantalise the avid bookworm.

Normally, we would be there for at least two hours, searching, uncovering and discovering book treasure but we both exceeded expectations and walked away with 11 books between us.

Here are my six below:

In all the years we have been going down there I have kept an eye out for writings of Henry David Thoreau and in consecutive years have picked up a book of his. Last year it was a book of his Poetry. It delights me to have picked up the book on some of his ‘meditations’.

I started reading the ‘Discworld’ series some time ago and have been keeping watch in second-hand bookstores so it was great to pick up another couple. 🙂

Am always on the lookout for Poetry books, especially anthologies and specific subject matter. I didn’t have any ‘humour-orientated’ Poetry so I was very pleased to add this to my collection. Anthologies are great, especially if like this one, there are a lot of Poets in it that I haven’t heard of. There a few Poems for each author so the book is a bit of a ‘taster’.

The final book to discuss is ‘New Worlds From Old’ which accompanied an exhibition of paintings some twenty years ago in Australia and the U.S.A. It has some wonderful plates of paintings from both American and Australian Landscape Artists from the 19th Century plus detailed information on the Artworks and the Artists themselves.

I’m looking forward this weekend and/or whenever I get the chance before to grab a cuppa and sit down to enjoy, particularly the Poetry, Painting and meditations books.

Till next time, booklovers!

Written by David Johnson

23 November 2021

27 Years since…

Yesterday, we embarked on our annual pilgrimage to Berrima which is a small village in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. It is approx. 1 hour South of where we live. We drive down there on this weekend every year, sometimes for the weekend, sometimes to spend the day there like we did this year.

Why Berrima? It is the place that my (now) Wife, Susan finally said ‘Yes’ to me asking her out to dinner, after declining me 5 times back in 1994. We were down there as friends collecting some items for a Christmas party that a Dog Club (that Susan was the Social Secretary of) was holding.

We had lunch at The White Horse Inn and it had such a romantic feel that I felt compelled to ask her out ‘just one more time…’. I did and she said yes! 🙂 After that we visited some of the shops (which are tourist orientated) and then went off to Berkelouw’s Book Barn at Berrima, which, back then held about 250,000 books. Unfortunately, the White Horse Inn has not been open for a number of years now.

Fast forward to this weekend, we have to do it in reverse these days as Berkelouw’s had to change to economically survive by reducing the amount of books (to about 100,000) and diversifying into a Wedding Reception venue, a restaurant/cafe and a wine-tasting venue. They close at 3.00pm each day for functions, hence the earlier visiting time. This was a shorter visit for us this time as we both found 6 books each within 1 1/4 hours. Normally it takes us longer.

After that, we took off to one of our favourite ‘Vintage-ware’ shops called “Sticky Beaks.’ We love visiting shops like these as they bring back a multitude of memories of things that were used in the past and one can pick up interesting curios, as we did again today.

Susan managed to pick up a tray that converts into a Grazing platter. Functional and artistic, I’m sure we will pit it to good use.

From there we set off to our lunch booking at Josh’s Cafe & Restaurant for a sumptious meal of Grilled Barramundi (a highly recommended fish in Australia), salad and then we shared a couple of desserts, ‘Pear and Rhubarb Crumble’ and Hot Chocolate Fondant, mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to have. 🙂 Deliciously decadent!

From there we visited Mrs Oldbucks Jam & Food shop and several other shops including a relatively new Berrima shop called, ‘Six Impossible Things’, the name coming from a Lewis Carroll story. It is set in an old Colonial cottage down a short pathway.

Sticky Beaks, Baytree Gallery, The Brown Shutter, Mrs Oldbucks

It was there that I purchased a glass Inkwell and some Calligraphy Ink. I had been looking for one of these for about 18 months. 🙂

It was a tremendous way to celebrate 27 years since we went out to dinner and for us there is no better place to celebrate it than where Susan said ‘Yes’ all those years ago.

Written by David Johnson

21 November 2021

Treasure Acquired 🙂

Book Treasure Abounds!

Last weekend on our mini-trip to Berrima for our ‘Other Anniversary’, one of the places we went to was one of our favourite bookshops, Berkelouw’s Book Barn. Berkelouw’s is a long-standing business which used to be a second-hand bookshop with approx. 250,000 books.

A few years back the business was converted to become a bookshop/restaurant/wedding reception venue. It now has only approx. 100,000 – 150,000 books.

Every year when we visit we set ourselves a budget and this year came away with more ‘book treasure.’

I was particularly delighted to pick up the following:

‘Artist’s On Art’ From the 14th to the 20th Century

It is an absolutely fascinating book which I am thoroughly enjoying ‘dipping into.’ To read what the Artists thought about Art in general and their own is indeed a delight!

‘Country Verse’ Edited by Samuel Carr

English Country Verse is set against English Country Landscape Paintings and it simply is wonderful to dive into and be whisked away to the English Countryside.

The other four books are novels and I am continuing to build up the library with classic authors of yesteryear:

‘The Black Arrow’ by Robert Louis Stevenson ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘Sweet Thursday’ by Johns Steinbeck ‘The Short Novels by John Steinbeck’ – ‘Tortilla Flat; ‘The Red Pony’; ‘Of Mice and Men’; ‘The Moon Is Down’; ‘Cannery Row’ and ‘The Pearl.’

Our trips to Berkelouw’s Book Barn never disappoint and we are looking forward to our next visit!

Written by David Johnson

25 November 2020


Book Treasure

In my last article, I spoke about our trip to Berrima every year. Within that trip is a visit to Berkelouw’s Book Barn which is situated just North of the Village, Berrima.

On a November weekend, 25 years in a row we have visited the bookshop. As mentioned previously, it used to contain approx. 300,000 books, though these days it only holds approx. 200,000 due to the owner diversifying to keep the business afloat.

It has a Wedding Reception, a Wine-Tasting facility and a Coffee Shop/Restaurant within it’s grounds plus a small Colonial Cottage which is used as a Guest House. All-in-all a nice retreat.

Each time we go there, we set ourselves a budget so that we don’t ‘go overboard.’ Seeing how both my Wife, Susan an I are both ‘Book-Fiends’ this is a great idea.

They have books ranging from a few dollars to in the ’000’s, thus it caters for all tastes in price and  indeed, subject matter.

For many years the Photography section would be my first point of call, followed by the Art section then, Poetry, Sci-Fi, Garden and Self-Development and Poetry.

For the past few years I have been hitting the Art section first, then Poetry and I will have a quick skim of Photography followed by other sections.

We generally spend 1 1/2 – 2 hours there and sometimes it takes a half or all of that before I find books I want to buy.

This visit saw me purchase three books:

  • Matthew Arnold: A Selection Of His Finest Poems
  • The Making Of A Poem: A Norton Anthology Of Poetic Forms
  • How To Read A Poem and Fall In Love With Poetry: Edward Hirsch

I found all of them in the space of 20 minutes when I arrived at the Poetry section. All three books I love though I think the ‘How To Read A Poem’ book is my early favourite and possible one of the best book purchases I have ever made!

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It looks such a beautiful read. I look forward to savouring it over time.

Three more books to add to the “Book Treasure” I have discovered at Berkelouw’s Book Barn, Berrima.

If you are in the area, why not pay them a visit or visit them online. You just might discover some “Book Treasure” of your own.
Great hunting!

Written By David Johnson
22 December 2019
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